I don’t know what Jeff Brohm is going to do.
Truth be told, I don’t think anyone knows what Jeff Brohm is going to do. In fact, I wonder if Jeff Brohm knows what he is going to do.
I say that because that is the biggest topic of the next few days, and still a testament to what Jeff Brohm has done for Purdue football. Two years ago at this time the thought of consecutive bowl bids was a pipe dream at best. While he hasn’t run up national title and Big Ten championship numbers, he has improved the program light years from where it was. We’re even on the precipice of something bigger, as the recruiting class that is weeks away from signing is a transformational class. We needed to survive these first two years. We did more than survive. We made (and won) a bowl last year out of nowhere. We made a bowl this year after a near disastrous 0-3 start and despite losing three home games on the final snap.
That really says a lot about what Brohm has done. I am 188 words into this and I haven’t even mentioned that we beat Indiana today 28-21. I haven’t even mentioned that it was a somewhat sloppy affair on both sides, with each team keeping the other alive through critical penalties and questionable play calling. I haven’t mentioned that despite all that, we never trailed today and had a shaky game in control almost throughout.
That’s what Jeff Brohm has done. He took the longest losing streak we have had in the series against Indiana and returned it to, “Well, of course we beat Indiana. It’s INDIANA.”
As I said, I don’t know what he is going to do, but I know what he has done. He has rejuvenated Purdue football to the point that a bowl game is the minimum expectation. I could tell that by the crowd today. Officially, it was a crowd of 48,247 in a stadium that seats 52,929. There were not 48,000 people there today. With a bowl game on the line there was ample room to spread out and plenty of Purdue partisans in the stands. It is one of the few times I have been to a Purdue road game where I felt we took an opposing team’s stadium over. Purdue fans went in search of a bowl bid. Indiana fans, with the same at stake, met it with a collective yawn.
And the Boilers got it done today. David Blough had some shaky moments and took some sacks. But aside from a late first half interception delivered with 310 yards and 3 touchdowns. Markell Jones picked up where he left off last year when he ran for 200 plus on the Hoosiers. He nearly had 100 yards and iced the game with a “You can have the ball back. I am done with it now.” Touchdown.
Then there was Rondale Moore. The Hoosiers schemed for him entirely and Purdue’s game plan was to get the ball to Rondale as much as possible. They still couldn’t stop him as he had 12 receptions for 141 yards and two scores. Moore locked up Big Ten Freshman of the Year today, as if there was much question who was going to get it beforehand.
Those were the highlights, but there were plenty of shaky moments. Purdue was leading 21-7 and driving to put the game away when a holding call negated a first down. We then gave up a sack, a facemask, and a quick touchdown. That gave me flashbacks to last week when we blew a 14 point lead with less than 8 minutes left. This week, we had an answer. It was very obvious we were going to take as much time as humanly possible before each snap and we responded with the Markell TD drive.
Navon Mosley then got a huge interception. We didn’t do anything with it, but we at least took away their timeouts. After giving up a TD we still needed to recover an onside kick with a little over a minute left, but we had Rondale. He did just fine on it.
I also need to say something about the Indiana play calling. Mike Debord is a horrendously awful offensive coordinator. For many years I have been terrified of Purdue on third and long. It has seemed like the longer the third down, the more likely we were going to give it up.
Today, I had no such fear. If was third down and longer than 7 yards, the Hoosiers were going to check down well short of the sticks. Debord was timid as hell, and as long as Indiana has him the Hoosiers will do nothing. Purdue gave up 500 yards of offense, but for most of the game the Hoosiers had only 7 points. A lot of what they gained was very late with Purdue leading by multiple scores and playing prevent.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. We have another football game to play this year in a bowl game, probably in the Pinstripe Bowl against an ACC team. It is a positive step for the program and we’re weeks from signing a transformational recruiting class.
Now the waiting game begins. Brohm said all the right things today about wanting to stay at Purdue, but Louisville will be calling as soon as tomorrow morning. They will present an offer and he will listen. What he does is up to him and him alone.
If he stays, we could be on the verge of something big.